Momentum is beginning to build within the European Parliament that the European Union should continue to give financial support to agriculture after the current arrangements end in 2013.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on 3 January, Conservative MEP for the south west and current chair of the European Parliament’s agricultural committee, Neil Parish expressed confidence that support was likely to continue after 2013.
“There will be a payment after 2013, it will be a lesser one and it will probably be spread too thinly,” he told delegates.
France is understood to be taking the lead on the issue with strong support from the new member states.
The €40bn currently allocated to the Common Agricultural Policy budget is likely to be the starting point for negotiations with France likely to argue for it to continue in something close to its currant form.
However, Germany, as the primary funder of the CAP, is likely to argue that any arrangements should be based on co-financing principles which would reduce its burden.
The UK is likely to object to any continuation of support payments and insist that any future payments are directed only at environmental schemes.
Furthermore, unless any co-financing arrangements are made compulsory it is unlikely that UK farmers would receive anything more than minimum available.
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